Prince Harry launched the ‘Walk of America’ expedition today at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, London. The expedition, sponsored by armed forces charity ‘Walking with the Wounded’, will see British veterans and their American counterparts walk over 1,000 miles across America.
The veterans will leave Los Angeles on 2nd June and travel through Texas, Colorado, Kansas City, and Nashville, before progressing up the Eastern seaboard with the aim to reach New York by 6th September. It is hoped that the expedition will raise vital funds to support disadvantaged veterans trying to integrate back into civilian society.
Speaking earlier today, Prince Harry expressed the importance of the care veterans receive. The Prince said: “Not all those who serve will face personal challenges, it is our duty to be there for the ones who do.
“It is a celebration of everyone who serves in uniform and all they do for our countries and our own communities.”
He added: “our nations, and in particular our Armed Forces, share a special bond. We have learned a great deal from each other about caring for our veterans, but together and separately we continue to face challenges.
At the launch of #walkofamerica, Prince Harry said: “Our Armed Forces, share a special bond … I have always felt that the experiences we share in conflict provide a stronger support system in recovery” @supportthewalk ?? ?? pic.twitter.com/L2Gy3IRaMS
— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) April 11, 2018
“I wish the team every success for the forthcoming challenge, make the most of it, I know it will be as rewarding as it is testing.”
Robert Wood Johnson, the US Ambassador to the UK, applauded the veterans participating this summer and discussed how the expedition will strengthen ties between the UK and the United States. With Prince Harry’s wedding to Ms Markle not far from everyone’s minds, Ambassador Johnson described the marriage as a ‘symbol of the special relationship by the UK and US’, adding: “It’s going to be big. It’s going to be unbelievable.”
He wished the couple “the happiest of lives together.”
At the event, Harry, 33 met with the British leaders of the expedition – Kev Carr, Kemslea Whittlesea and Jonny Burns – to discuss the preparations the team were making for the 14-week challenge, which will be ever-more poignant this year due to the centenary commemorations of the end of World War I, when British and American troops fought alongside one another.
Walking with the Wounded was established in 2010 with the aim to support pathways for veterans with a physical, mental or social disadvantage to help them re-integrate into society, and to gain sustainable employment and independence.
Although Prince Harry’s patronage of the expedition was only announced by Kensington Palace in early April, the Prince has joined veterans on previous missions including the 2013 trip to the South Pole and the Walk for Britain in 2015.
Speaking of the participants of the ‘Walk of America’ expedition, ‘Walking with the Wounded’ co-founder Ed Parker asserted, “We want people to come out and meet the team, to cheer them, to hear what they represent.”
— Victoria Murphy (@QueenVicMirror) April 11, 2018
Kensington Palace said, “The Walk of America will create a platform to tell the stories of wounded veterans and their individual journeys from injury to the present day, as well as encourage a wider conversation around veteran mental health.
“The expedition will also raise vital funds for veterans both sides of the Atlantic.”